(First Published – November 14, 2016)
The election of 2016 has torn at the very fabric of our nation. Words and actions have brought out our darker angels. Facebook posts tell both sides of the long battle for the White House. Some of my friends are deeply troubled by the outcome. Others are celebrating. I know people who are afraid, while some feel misunderstood in the backlash of being labeled a racist.
What I have learned in this election is that all of us need to begin listening to people who have different political beliefs. Until we hear the pain, we will never understand what lies in the hearts of people we differ with. What are the hurts, hope and aspirations of our neighbors? What is the source of anger that rages? Are their common values that can guide us?
I dare to believe that our Christian faith can show us the way. First of all there is love. Love for God and love for each other. If our nation is to resolve our vast differences, it will be because we take time to listen to each other in love. For in listening we gain empathy, compassion and understanding.
Back in the first century, the apostle Paul, wrote to a group of people in the city of Corinth urging them to start living the Christian faith they claimed. In simple eloquence he sent words to bring about understanding and reconciliation, saying, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing . . . Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude.” * Love includes respect, compassion and caring. Love treats the other as we would want to be treated.
We say that we are a Christian nation. Votes were cast based upon Biblical values. Perhaps, the best way for us to bridge the distance between us, is for all of us who claim to be a Christian, to live and speak like one.
“And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.” *
*Scripture is taken from I Corinthians Chapter 13.